‘I’m no longer broken!’ These words, spoken two years ago by a pastor who is a leader in an LCA partner church of 300,000 people in Indonesia, continue to touch my heart and remind me of the power of the gospel. As I began a four-hour seminar with leaders of that church, along with their […]
‘I’m no longer broken!’ These words, spoken two years ago by a pastor who is a leader in an LCA partner church of 300,000 people in Indonesia, continue to touch my heart and remind me of the power of the gospel.
As I began a four-hour seminar with leaders of that church, along with their spouses, I asked the question, ‘Are you a person of law or gospel?’ This pastor replied, ‘I’m a person of law!’ I then asked, ‘How are you going with that?’ His reply was just as powerfully stated by his body language as his words, ‘I am a broken person, I find I don’t want to live!’
But after the seminar, when I asked him how he was, he said, ‘I am no longer broken. I am seeing how much Jesus has done for me; his forgiveness has healed me, and I have hope to face the future.’
His response is typical of what we have witnessed in Indonesia and Japan since 2014, while accepting the invitation to train pastors, teachers and laypeople in Biblical Reconciliation. In Indonesia, we have trained six seminary lecturers who will continue to teach the joy of living a life of confession and forgiveness, while in Japan, leaders of the Kinki Evangelical Lutheran Church (KELC) have been filled with hope as this teaching takes hold of their lives.
It is difficult to put into words the transformation we have seen as life-long Christians have heard the unadulterated gospel for the first time.
One Indonesian church leaders says of the training: ‘There are people here from the  different Lutheran churches in Indonesia, but this week we have all grown together as one church, we have grown in appreciation of Jesus and his forgiveness, and we have experienced his love for us and our love for each other!’
While Rev Shigeo Sueoka of the KELC says, ‘Through the seminars, we could regain the joy of the true gospel.’
Their responses confirm that the gospel takes hold of the heart, cleanses the conscience and sets us free to be children of God. The training is always pastoral care in action that changes lives.
We have seen husbands and wives reconciled to one another through confession and forgiveness. We have heard from pastors rejoicing that they have been able to confess their jealousy and animosity to one another and been strengthened through the mercy of Christ. And we have seen our brothers and sisters in Christ who were burdened by the impossibility of the law, renewed through the forgiveness won on the cross and empowered to proclaim the gospel in a way they have never known.
Released from shame, washed clean in the forgiveness of sins, and filled with the joy of God’s love for them in Christ, those who joined us in the journey of Biblical Reconciliation are now living witnesses to the transforming power of the gospel. Imagine what God will do with them throughout Asia in the years to come!
Many of our partner churches are working in new territory for the kingdom of God; therefore, spiritual attack is their everyday reality. As a member of a congregation, school, or family, or a couple or individual, you are invited to commit to praying for our partners in mission. For regular prayer point updates, go to www.lca.org.au/international-mission/act-now/pray